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At the 2015 Northeastern Iowa Synod’s Day of Renewal, I offered a simple three step process to raise up the topic of stewardship.  Here is a portion of that presentation.  In preparation, I took heavily from two sources: Jamieson, Janet T., and Philip D. Jamieson. Ministry and Money A Practical Guide for Pastors. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009 and  J. Cliff Christopher. Not Your Parents Offering Plate A New Vision for Financial Stewardship. Nashville: Abington Press, 2008.

Step #1 Get the House in Order

It is very difficult to teach any subject without having a clear understanding of
it in your own mind.  This applies to financial stewardship as well.
The leader needs to have, and be able to articulate in a clear and concise way, their own theology of giving in order to lead the congregation in
stewardship.  So first I recommend reading what the Bible has to say about
giving and then reviewing the works of the best theologians on the topic.
Specifically, I recommend reading chapters 2-4 of the book Ministry and Money as a complete starting point. During this time of study I also commend the leader to spend time in prayer asking for guidance and wisdom.  The leader should then write down their own theology of stewardship in not less than a paragraph and not more than a page.  This should be kept close at hand for the leader to refer to through the rest of this process but does not need to be published.
Now it is time for the leader to consider their own giving.  In order to lead
in stewardship the leader must be personally a sacrificial giver of their own
resources.  The final act of step #1 is to preach.   The congregation needs to hear about Biblical stewardship and needs to hear your own theology and about your giving.
The “stewardship sermon” should not be an annual event preached every fall just before the pledge cards are distributed.  Instead, stewardship should
receive as much attention in preaching/teaching as it does in the Gospels
(about 1/3).
The pastor should also boldly tell about their own giving in the sermon or
newsletter.  The congregation deserves to know that the Pastor follows
her/his own preaching and that the pastor is personally financially invested in
the congregation.  It is also an opportunity to invite the wealthier
members to match the pastor’s giving.
Pastor Mark Anderson
Assistant to the Bishop

 

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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